Further adventures in making jewelry with vintage trim/lace components

I have continued my exploration into using fabric/trim/lace in jewelry, sometimes just using a piece of rickrack as a choker, and sometimes taking the time to find the right weight and composite of beads to compliment something so light and agile. Here is one recent effort:

The speckled blue and yellow beads came from my husband’s aunt, they belonged to his grandmother. I never met this woman, but I love that I have received a box of deconstructed jewelry that once belonged to her. This is one perk of making beaded jewelry: people tend to give you meaningful beads that they have collected over the years and you get to make something that commemorates that meaning. I have a few pieces made so far from the beads that once belonged to my husband’s grandmother, and I love that when I visit his aunt, she always recognizes them. By creating something new, I am part of her memory of a loved one and ancestral connection.

For those who make jewelry: the three-strand format is complicated for a piece of woven fiber, as you might be able to tell from the picture. There is not really a way to help the light weight fabric not get entangled/overwhelmed by the heavier glass beads. I still love and wear this necklace, but it is something I would think twice before designing as a gift or to sell, because it requires careful handling.

Leaf Headdress

A friend had a masquerade and I decided to go as a pile of leaves. Making this dramatic headdress at my grandmother’s kitchen table had us laughing till it hurt. I had to take off my shoes and go barefoot so that it wouldn’t hit ceiling fixtures. I have no regrets!

The first time I balanced it on my head for a trial run

The day after the event, I went and got lost in the trees for a photoshoot of the canonization of my becoming the patron saint of fallen leaves:

…and since I did not have the heart to dismantle it, the leaf headdress now lives as a fashionable fire danger on top of a lamp at the cabin:

Took a break from research to make some end-of-semester gifts for friends

One thing I love about making gifts for people is putting thought into their style. I consider the colors I usually see them wear, what sorts of designs they seem attracted to, and what materials they might like. Even if I am off the mark and what I’ve made isn’t exactly that person’s style, it is something that has been made uniquely with them in mind.

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Vintage lace necklace with wooden and stone beads 

Last year I bought an enormous collection of vintage trim/lace/rick-rack off of ebay, I am beginning to experiment with using those materials in jewelry. I have never used the ribbon clamps holding the lace in place before, I am hoping that they will be durable and hold on to it tightly. The necklace feels so light and delicate with such a large part of it being merely lace. I used wooden beads for this reason, I didn’t want to use something heavy that might compromise the durability of the necklace but also would offset the airiness of it.

 

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Earrings with wooden leaves and dyed cultivated pearls 

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Earrings with red and purple glass beads, red clay beads 

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Earrings with glass beads: blue faceted and gold foil faceted

 

Windowsill Gardening

It’s still a little too cold in the Northeastern US to plant much outside. I have peas and kale, who love colder spring weather, started outdoors. In the meantime, I’ve run out of front window space! Seedlings have taken over!

 

 

A plastic egg carton makes a very good seed-starting greenhouse. Most plastic egg cartons have three sections- one that goes under the eggs, one that goes over the eggs, and the lid. Cut off the one that goes over the eggs with scissors and then poke holes at the bottom of it with a knife. That piece will then fit right into the section that goes over the eggs, so that the one with holes in it can hold dirt and drain water, and the one underneath it can capture the water. Until the seeds sprout and get too tall, you can use the lid as the top of your greenhouse.

Editing to add some pics from my cellphone to make this simple process more clear:

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Separate the two egg-shaped trays 

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Make holes in the bottom of the separated tray 

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Pick out some seeds, these were my choice today 

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After putting the separated tray with holes back into the intact tray, put a shallow layer of dirt in each compartment and add a seed or two! 

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Fill up the rest of the way with dirt and pat down

Hanging with bias tape

 

I bought a huge lot of vintage sewing trim on ebay this summer and it came with a few rolls of bias tape (for securing hems) that I wasn’t sure what I was ever going to do with. Well, I had two sets of paintings I wanted to gift to some friends and was planning to attach them with jewelry chain, but my friend Kaori gave me the idea of using bias tape to connect and hang the paintings. I used a staple gun, which was definitely overkill and has a little bit of a negative aesthetic, but it’s less permanent or potentially damaging than glue. I’m pretty satisfied with how it worked, and how easy it was!

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Hobart, New York

There is a little town that is bursting with bookstores about a 25 minute drive from the cabin I stay in during school semesters. I drove through it by happenstance and I’ll admit, was a bit overwhelmed! I only entered one store because I didn’t have enough money or time to indulge too greatly, but will definitely make a road trip with a bibliophile friend or so over the Summer. My first pile of Hobart books: WP_20180108_10_24_12_Pro (1)
As I picked these up at the beginning of a semester, I haven’t been able to read the larger books yet but read through the two small poetry chapbooks before bed at night to wash the academia out of my brain.

The Mushroom at the End of the World

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I was fortunate enough to be assigned this book for a transnational lives graduate seminar.  When it came in the mail, I was away from home and asked my husband to open the package so I knew which book had arrived. When he saw the title, he told me “This isn’t for school, this is a “you” book!” Sometimes, reading assignments can perfectly align with your interests.

This book tracks a mushroom that cannot be mass produced (and thus mass marketed) and draws a wide specialized global market. The mushroom is used as a metaphor for the often displaced and disjointed lives engaged in by people such as immigrants, refugees, survivors, and capitalist dissidents. The mushroom only grows in disturbed forests, both its thriving and its harvest occur in tandem with the spoils of modern notions of development. The book uses this metaphor to speak about adaption, survival, and the territorial and ideological limits of seemingly all-pervasive forces. It is a very sensory experience that speaks through smells and tastes as much as through text.